I am writing in support of the overture to apologize to the lbgqt community (this is what you would say if you were at a meeting about this overture). I am in full support because I believe it to be more about safety & the lives of my lbqt family on the line.
(Also I am not representing my church or my Presbytery of Albany since I have not been authorized to make a statement on either behalf. A widely publicized opposing view is here)
Particularly I am thinking about my sister–who is trans and feels unsafe every time she uses the bathroom…or goes to church…or does a million other things. I am thinking of the fact that she lost a trans underclassman to suicide in the last couple of weeks. I will be speaking form the perspective of those who are trans because they are the least of these, within the least of these…the vulnerable in the midst of an already vulnerable community (esp. transgendered people of color, who my sister is not, but I am thinking of theirintersectionality issues of bigotry). 23 transgendered people were murdered in 2015 according to http://www.thetaskforce.org/stop-trans-murders/.
People’s lives are in danger and the church helped to perpetuate that danger. We have a responsibility.
I’m thinking of all those who are still receiving hurt, especially by way of the damaging legislation which started in North Carolina, and is being varied upon throughout the country in MS, GA, MI and TN.
Why not apologize?
- I have heard arguments about it being a breach of trust with those who have an conscientious objection to homosexual relationships.
- I have also heard it will cause turmoil on the floor; raising the hopes and dreams of our lbqt family only to crush them.
First is this apology a breach of trust?
My Presbytery proposed the following rationale to be added should we have supported the overture, clearly stating the intention to bring forth transparency not to “point the finger”
“Albany Presbytery acknowledges that the language in this overture may be perceived to single out specific groups within the denomination for criticisms. However, we believe the entire denomination, across all theological perspectives, should be invited into making amends. We would expect the General Assembly to address these perceptions as they deliberate action upon this overture.
“Furthermore, we concur with this overture as a first step in our pledge to work for an even deeper, denomination-wide, opportunity for healing and reconciliation across all theological and political lines, beyond the scope of this overture (up to and including the possibility of requesting a diverse church-wide task force on healing and reconciliation) and invite the General Assembly to join us in that pledge.
More importantly to the first point: Are we saying we did not hurt lbqt people? or Are we saying that they are not worthy of apology? Are we valuing the feelings of those who might disagree with us more than the rampant homelessness, depression, suicides & murder within the queer community? What are we afraid of, truly….
If the issue is hurt feelings of some that we work with vs. lives on the line for a marginalized people, I know where I stand. Its with justice.
As to the 2nd part, we might as well give up and go home now. You are afraid of raising the queer community’s hopes to crash them? Too late, we’ve been doing this for the last 40-50 years. I’ve got news they can take it. I’d rather speak to real hope of someday healing and reconciling than not speaking of the Dream that I have that someday all people can be counted by the content of their character rather than the orientation of their sexual and gender identities (what if Rev. Dr. King refused to raise hopes needlessly?)
A third, more quiet argument I’ve heard is that we can’t force an apology out of some of us who don’t believe it.
But we have to start the hard work somewhere, we have to believe in healing. We have to hope. If we can’t hope, then I don’t know what God it is we are following. I hope for reconciliation between all of God’s people, I hope for a love that passes all understanding, I hope for the day when the Kingdom of God allows us to feast together.
If we don’t chose reconciliation it will because we value “being nice” over truth. I cannot help that this move is one that is made from our own privilege…we can wait on the apology because it doesn’t suit us yet…
I can’t believe that any move towards healing is a breach of trust…
And I say this as a pastor of a church that is slowly making its way towards understanding what true welcome of all people mean. I’ve done the hard work, and I know it is worth it. However, healing has to start somewhere, and I would prefer for us to discuss it at the national level, now, when so many are being hurt by US legislation.
That is why I am in favor of the apology overture.
PS: Love is a revolution, take a listen here http://thirtysecondsorless.net/revolution/